Naming The Notes On The Fretboard Pt.1

This lesson is gonna take a little focus away from playing and instead try to help you know your way around the guitar a little bit better.

The guitar is notoriously a difficult instrument to visualize and because of that many guitarist's of even advanced ability can't confidently name the notes across the fretboard.

As I state in the video, the absolute best way to get your entire fretboard absolutely nailed is to learn to read sheet music. It's not a total must, but it will thoroughly teach you your fretboard quickly.

Having said that, there are many players who can't read a note of sheet music but know their fretboard quite well. All it really takes is an actual curiosity on the notes that you are playing when playing through a tune and so forth.

The popularity of guitar TAB in magazines and TAB music books leads to a lot of guitarist's just thinking of the fretboard as a bunch of numbers. So here in this 2-part series I will introduce a few simple techniques that you can use to try and begin to learn the fretboard. After that, it's up to you to stay consistent with it and try and figure out notes everyday.

There is a brief little theory primer at the beginning of the video to get you started, then we start to take a look at the fretboard.

Have fun and let me know if you have any questions or comments!!

If these free lessons help you, please donate to keep new ones coming daily. Thanks!! 🙂

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Naming The Notes On The Fretboard Pt.1


  1. Wave on January 19, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    Another fantastic lesson, you rock Carl!

  2. tomas tejeda on February 11, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    i like the GABE thing it is very helpfull.

  3. Kelly on March 22, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    Thanks for your help, man. I’ve been playing for WAY too long to not understand music theory. THis is going to help a lot!

  4. Andrey on May 30, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    At the beginning of the lesson i wasn’t expecting anything i hadn’t known before, but this GABE thing is great! Thanks, Carl!

  5. Mike pronovost on September 30, 2011 at 8:39 pm

    Hey Carl,
    I love all of your lessons but can you make a way to change the videos to a lower quality?I have an iPad instead of a real CPU or laptop so it takes me forever to load some videos!And as far as the lesson goes this really helped me out. I’ve been playing about two years but I always stared at tablatures!my technique is good but my actual knowledge is close to nothing. So thanks!

    • Carl Brown on October 1, 2011 at 11:31 am

      Hey Mike, thanks for checking out my lessons. You should be able to adjust the quality of the video using the toolbar of the video player itself. As for the quality, Youtube encodes all the videos at multiple settings and serves the appropriate video to you automatically. However, sometimes you may still want to adjust the video’s setting yourself and should be able to do that within the video players toolbar. That is assuming that viewing the toolbar is the same on an iPad than in a regular browser.

      Anyway, hope this helps a bit.

      Cheers! Carl..

  6. Luis A. on December 10, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    For years I have been playing without knowing what I was playing. Made a record with a band and still did not know the guitar basics shown in here. Where were you 15 years ago when I most needed a teacher like you!

    Thanks and wish you the best!

  7. Saurabh Mistry on May 5, 2014 at 11:43 am

    Hiii Carl… Really fantastic work you have done by creating this website… truly..I am from India, i will recommend it to my friends and everyone who is wanting to learn guitar..
    Being myself a doctor, i find relatively less time and find this website very useful and a convenient way to learn guitar in my freetime..

    • Carl Brown on May 5, 2014 at 3:25 pm

      Thanks Saurabh, I am trying to make the site better and better every month so I hope you keep coming back!


  8. Johnny on May 23, 2014 at 7:51 pm

    Hey Carl I Really Enjoy Your Videos. I’m a beginner guitarist watching them on youtube and I would like to watch the videos in order. Could you please write back giving me the order of the begginer series. Thanks 🙂

    • Carl Brown on May 29, 2014 at 9:56 am

      Hey Johnny, there really isn’t any special order except for maybe the order they are presented on the beginner guitar lesson page.

      I do have a new beginner guitar course I just started in the Premium section of the site. That course is formatted systematically in that you will simply go from one chapter to the next without any confusion as to what to study next. 🙂


  9. Basel Khalil on July 2, 2014 at 11:35 am

    Carl….I have started with amazing world of classical guitar ,so i now how to read the basic notes …….But even so it is still hard to visualized without this great video
    Keep it up Carl…..

  10. Monique Pareja on September 30, 2015 at 11:01 pm

    I’ve been learning how to play the guitar for years now all by myself and I believe I am still on a beginner level. Just found out about your site via youtube today, because of Fade To Black tutorial (a song I believe I won’t be able to play even after a decade of learning and practicing) and now I’ve decided to start again from scratch. Getting sure I am not missing anything and learning all the basics in the guitar.
    I always wonder what those dots represent in the guitar. I’ve been trying to figure it out myself but always fails. But now I know. Knowing these little things are really awesome. I can’t wait to see and discover what’s more in your site for us (for me).
    Thank you for your awesomeness. Greeting from the Philippines.

  11. Robert Goss on October 18, 2015 at 4:28 pm

    Carl, this is the best presentation I have seen on learning note layout on the fret board! Thanks so much.

  12. Patricia Russell on April 20, 2016 at 7:14 pm

    The GABE idea really helps – thank you.

  13. Hrvoje Ruzic on March 30, 2020 at 2:32 am

    Hi Carl,

    I hope that this message finds you and your loved ones in good health and safe from this damned virus.

    Can you help me with following?
    My B string, when in open position has a buzz, but once I press the string, either on first or any other fret, the buzz is gone?
    If not mistaken, usually, if the string buzzes in open position, same should be also when pressed, right?
    The E, A, D, G, and E have no buzz. I have Floyd Rose floating trem.
    Any suggestions or ideas what might be causing the buzz?

    Stay safe!!!!!

    Hrvoje “Harvey”

    • Carl Brown on March 31, 2020 at 8:25 am

      Hey Hrvoje,

      That would mean that the nut slot for that string might be a little bit wide. To check that, lift up your B string and place a tiny piece of paper in the slot for that string then place the string back down on top of it. That should keep the string from vibrating within that nut slot and creating the buzzing sound. 🙂

  14. Eames on January 25, 2021 at 10:02 pm

    Best lesson on internet. MUST LEARN

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